Weather Updates

Federal jail escapee plans to plead guilty

Kenneth Conley

Kenneth Conley

storyidforme: 53863900
tmspicid: 19848404
fileheaderid: 9088711

Updated: September 23, 2013 2:19PM

The second of two federal inmates who made a daring escape from the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center during the Christmas holiday plans to plead guilty, his attorney said Wednesday.

Bank robber Kenneth Conley, 39, spent nearly two weeks on the run after he and cellmate, Jose Banks, widened their cell window with tools, then rappelled from the 17th floor of the jail using rope made from bed sheets and dental floss.

Following his capture in south suburban Palos Hills on Jan. 4, he was sentenced in May to 20 years for a 2011 bank robbery in Homewood.

The escape could add an additional 5 years to his sentence, but defense attorney Gary Ravitz told Judge Gary Feinerman on Wednesday that Conley is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.

If he follows through, it would mean that embarrassing details of the escape won’t have to be aired at a trial — potentially sparing the U.S. Bureau of Prisons from embarrassment.

Prosecutors previously dropped escape charges against Banks, who is serving an 80 year sentence for a string of heists.

Conley — who is locked up at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. and who followed Wednesday’s hearing via video-link — is scheduled to change his plea at a hearing on Oct. 9.


Twitter: @kimjnews

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.